Kiwanis ready for annual Pancake Jamboree

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The Kiwanis Club of Roxboro is prepping for the biggest breakfast event of the year with the annual Pancake Jamboree Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Jamboree, now in its 65th year, will offer all you can eat pancakes and sausage from 6 a.m. till 6 p.m. in the Person High School cafeteria.

Club member Lee Thomas said the Jamboree is the club’s major fundraiser for the year and will likely raise around $30,000 this year to fund programming and scholarships.

Among the programs the club supports are the Boy and Girls Scouts, Friends of the Library, Parents as Teachers, Key Club, the Special Olympics of Person County, Kirby Outreach Program, Person County Autism Society, Roots and Wings and Friends of the Guardian Ad Litem, among others.

Member Leigh Woodall said the funds will stay in Person County.

“One of the things I like about Kiwanis is that we keep all of our money in the county,” he said. “We don’t fund things outside the county because a majority of us still feel that there are needs left unmet here inside of Person County.”

Woodall said the fundraiser will serve around 2,000 people, but was even higher in the 1990s.

“I think 3,300 people was the maximum we’ve ever served in a day,” he said.

To serve such high numbers, the club operates three rotating grills of pancakes.

Woodall said the club will serve around 6-7,000 pancakes in the 12-hour period

The Kiwanians will be assisted by the Key Club and Interact Club.

“The way are this day and age, we welcome the help from these service clubs,” he said. “Really, we couldn’t do it all without them.”

Club members sign up for shifts to ensure that the grills and service spots are filled throughout the day.

“Theres a quick on the job training exercise, but everyone learns rapidly and we produce a quality product,” Woodall said. “It’s not all that difficult after everything is set up and running. In the past, a grill can malfunction - and it has happened a time or two. And that gets the line backed out the door into the parking lot, but we manage that fairly well to keep everything running smoothly.”

According to member James Woody, the first Pancake Jamboree was held on Saturday, Nov. 11, 1950 in the former Hotel Roxboro, which is the current site of the Person County Tax Office and Register of Deeds.

The entire $847 profit was donated to Person Memorial Hospital, to be used for shrubbery and landscaping.

In the first few years, the funds supported the purchase of a new fire truck, a contribution was made to the Roxboro midget football program, and establishing what was known as Westwood Park.

From 1950-1956 the event was held continuously at Hotel Roxboro and was discontinued from 1957 through 1959 due to the lack of cooking and serving facilities.

The event returned in 1960 and took place at both Hotel Roxboro and Turner’s Restaurant next door at different times during the day.

In 1968, Pancake Day moved to Long Memorial Methodist Church and in 1969 it was held in the Roxboro High School cafeteria before finding its current home in the Person High School cafeteria in 1970.

In those early years, the sausage for the Jamboree was obtained by purchasing a hog and having it butchered by Roxboro Freezer Locker.

The tickets were only $1 in the early days before increasing to $1.50 in the early 1970s and up to $2 in 1975.

Tickets will be available the day of the event for $7 at the door.

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